The Iron Witch (Iron Witch Series #1)

The Iron Witch (Iron Witch Series #1)

3.4 48
by Karen Mahoney

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When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed Donna Underwood’s father and drove her mother mad. Her own nearly fatal injuries were fixed by alchemy—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. Now seventeen, Donna feels like a freak, doomed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. Only her

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When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed Donna Underwood’s father and drove her mother mad. Her own nearly fatal injuries were fixed by alchemy—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. Now seventeen, Donna feels like a freak, doomed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. Only her relationship with her best friend, Navin, is keeping her sane.

But when vicious wood elves abduct Navin, Donna is forced to accept her role in the centuries-old war between human alchemists and these darkest outcasts of Faerie. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous guy with faery blood running through his veins and secrets of his own, Donna races to save Navin—even if it means betraying everything her parents fought to the death to protect.

“Dark and beautiful, sensual and dangerous, utterly enthralling. . . You’ll fall under this book’s spell.”—Richelle Mead, New York Times bestselling author

“Mahoney’s debut sizzles with romance and alchemical swashbuckling. . .  A captivating read.”
—Tiffany Trent, author of In the Serpent’s Coils

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mahoney's debut novel mines the familiar turf of the adolescent with magical abilities who just wants to be "normal." Donna Underwood, survivor of a faerie attack in the Ironwood years earlier, lives in Ironbridge, Mass., where she's been kicked out of high school and receives "homeschooling" from an alchemical society that saved her life by tattooing and reinforcing her arms with iron, giving her superhuman strength. Donna's best friend, Navin, tries to keep her in the flow of ordinary teenage life, taking her to parties like the one thrown by the mysterious Xan Grayson. It quickly becomes apparent that Xan's secrets are akin to Donna's. It's also clear that malignant elves from the Ironwood are starting to infiltrate the town, but why? Questions become crises when Navin disappears, and Donna must choose between keeping her secrets and saving her friend. Back-story takes precedence over present action in this installment, with info dumps taking the form of Donna's diary and conversations with out-of-the-loop characters. But although Mahoney's story takes a while to get going, she lays intriguing groundwork for later books. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
VOYA - Lucy Schall
When Donna Underwood was seven, a fey attack supposedly killed her father and drove her mother mad. The Order of the Dragon fixed and marked Donna's injured arms with elaborate iron tattoos that give her superhuman strength. Now seventeen, Donna lives with Aunt Abigail, a rising star in the Order. Her best friend, Navin, takes Donna to a party where she meets the host, handsome Xan, who shares her supernatural world. Eventually the two combat the Wood Queen, who holds Navin and the Maker of the Order as prisoners to barter with Donna for the Elixir of Life. Through the confrontation and rescue, she realizes her power and learns she is called the Iron Witch. Donna, Xan, Navin, and high school bullies remain flat as they operate in a predictable soap-opera plot that often bogs down in description and repetition. Donna's first-person journal entries, which supplement the third-person narration, have a more immediate feel. Injected humor, such as Donna's defeating a wood elf with a toilet plunger and a discussion between Xan and Donna about whether the Wood Queen's name is French or Jewish, seem awkward rather than humorous. Hopefully the next two volumes of this supernatural mystery romance will develop the characters, introduce more unusual plot elements, and add significance. Middle school and junior high girls drawn to supernatural drama may find this a motivating read. Reviewer: Lucy Schall
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Donna Underwood is not your typical high school senior. At a party, she meets Alexander (Xan), who is also anything but typical, and in fact bears the scars on his back from where his wings were removed. Donna wears elbow-length gloves to cover up her iron hands, made for her when she was seven and her father was killed, her mother driven insane, and Donna burned by a terrifying creature called Skriker. These teens are trying to act normal in the world of the "commoners," but Donna is forced to use her atypical strength and knowledge about the fey world to save her friend Navin, with Xan's help. Teen girls will love the descriptions of Donna's feelings about her new love interest, Xan, and the details about clothing, friendship, and her attempts to fit in. Fantasy lovers will enjoy reading about a different world trying to hide in ours. There are subtle references to sex and underage drinking and drug use. At the end, readers are aware of more to come, and this book should prove to be the beginning of a popular series.—Kathy Kirchoefer, Prince Georges County Memorial Library System, New Carrollton, MD
Kirkus Reviews

This book begins and ends with a diary entry from the journal of Donna Underwood, whose strongest childhood memory—seeing her father killed—was followed by her mother's entry to a private sanatorium. His killers, vicious wood elves, mangled Donna's hands and arms so badly that only magical surgery would save them. Now the wood elves are back; they've kidnapped Donna's friend, Navin, and, it's up to Donna to save him. The protagonists of this fantasy adventure—Donna, Navin and romantic interest Zan—are well drawn and engaging. Secondary characters (mostly adults)—sketchily developed humans and fey—mainly exist to drive the solid plot. And what a plot! Complex in structure, it includes a secret society of alchemists whose motives are veiled, the mystery of Donna's dad's death and a budding romance between Donna and the half-fey Zan. The success of the story depends heavily upon the geographical contrast between small-town Ironbridge, Mass., and the dark forest that leads to the home of the wood elves. The suspense and tension built into the story lead to a smashing climax and an ambivalent solution. Enough plot threads are left dangling that readers should expect at least one sequel. This story has it all for fans of (sub)urban: vicious adversaries, devoted friendship and first romance. (Fantasy. 13-16)

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Product Details

Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
Publication date:
Iron Witch Series , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
6 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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